You have to love her, even when you’re laughing at her—Phoebe Fine, that is, the star of this hilariously eccentric and affecting new novel.
On the cusp of thirty, Phoebe has fled the high life and, ultimately, the no life of trying and failing to “be somebody” in Manhattan. She returns to her parents’ Depression-era bungalow across the river in New Jersey, the house she grew up in, to lie low with the crabgrass and dust bunnies and memories of her childhood, and perhaps just be herself. Easier said than done. Once resettled, Phoebe hatches a plan to resell her neighbors’ garbage on eBay, begins work on a solo album for electric violin and voice called Bored and Lonely, and accepts a date with the conductor of the Newark Symphony Orchestra, Roget Mankuvsky, a man with acid-washed jeans and a mysterious past. And so, with the hope of progress on both fronts, Phoebe’s search for a good way to make a living and a good man to make a life with continues.
In this second installment of Phoebe Fine’s life story, author Lucinda Rosenfeld raises the emotional and romantic stakes. Though still consumed with appearances, including her own, Phoebe now has serious grown-up issues to deal with—her mother’s illness, a hostile and competitive older sister with marital problems, and a moral and financial crisis involving a viola that may be worth millions of dollars. But the comic notes prevail. The question is, will Phoebe?